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Ms. Marvel episode 4 review - Marvel meets Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird

Ms Marvel continues to delight in a third episode that has Kamala Khan gets to know her mother and grandmother, also some fights happen I guess...

Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) in Ms . Marvel

Our Verdict

Ms. Marvel continues to impress in an episode that's less about superheroes and more about getting to know your mum.

Ms. Marvel continues to delight as Kamala Khan gets to know her roots. Following on from the events of episode 3 (apologies for not reviewing, we thought it was alright. It would have got three stars), Kamala (Iman Vellani) and her mother, Muneeba (Zenobia Shroff), have set off to Karachi to meet with Nani (Samina Ahmed) who may know the secrets of the Djinn’s magical bangle.

Landing in Karachi, however, it becomes clear that while Nani may have a connection to the bangle, she doesn’t have the answers Kamala seeks. Instead, she encourages our young hero to explore the city to learn more about the Djinn. While exploring the city, Kamala catches the attention of the Red Daggers – a group sworn to protect the world from the Clandestines – specifically Kareem.

During a handy-dandy exposition dump, the Red Daggers explain the danger that the Clandestines’ plan to get home poses to our world. Unfortunately, before Kamala and her new friends can work out a plan of attack, the Clandestines make their move. Can Kamala defeat these powerful enemies? Well, you’ll have to watch to find out.

Honestly, aside from the introduction of Kareem, a relatively important character in the Ms. Marvel mythos, this episode was doing a decent impression of the cyclist Eddie Merckx. What do we mean? Well, it’s spinning its wheels.

We learn nothing new from either Nani or the Red Daggers about the bangle or what happened to Kamala’s great-grandmother. We also got some alright action. The chase was probably the best set-piece we got, but for the most part, it was just generic MCU fare. Quick cuts, CGI, and no blood. The Marvel fight scene set menu.

All that said, though, we still think the episode was great. Why? Well, Ms. Marvel is always at its best when it’s focusing on Kamala and her interpersonal relationships, and this episode really drills down into the relationship between Kamala, Muneeba, and Nani.

We learn so much about why Muneeba is such a protective mother, why she seems to dislike the Avengers, and what she has in common with Kamala. I think anyone who’s ever had a strict parent will empathise with the shock Kamala feels when she learns her mother was a troublemaker growing up.

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It serves as a nice reminder that our parents aren’t just NPCs programmed to look after you. They’re living, breathing people with dreams of their own.

Honestly, it put me in mind of Greta Gerwig’s drama movie Lady Bird. Kamala and Muneeba’s relationship isn’t quite as fractious as Lady Bird and Marion’s, but it’s essentially the same story.

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You’ve two people who just don’t understand each other but love each other deeply. Vellani and Shroff both deserve some attention for their nuanced and layered performances. It might be some of the best work we’ve seen in the MCU.

The real star of the episode, though, is Ahmed. She’s a delightful presence throughout the episode, with a mischievous twinkle in Nani’s eye that would put Loki to shame. Seriously Whenever Nani’s not onscreen, I feel all the other characters should be asking, ‘Where’s Nani?’

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Even better, it looks like next week we’re going to get even more of Kamala’s family, which is basically my new addiction. I’m hoping Ms. Marvel teaches me more about the Partition of India, just like how Derry Girls taught me about the Good Friday Agreement (apologies, I’m English and our school system basically skips over the parts of history where we’re the villains, so that’s a fair few centuries).